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by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, BCIH
Politicians and world leaders have used food sources to manipulate populations leading to wide spread famine and population control for centuries. For the history buffs check out the book “Taste of War” by Lizzie Collingham.
We are at a crossroads in history with food. For the first time we have gone from selective breeding and hybridization to Genetic Engineering. This has been done under the belief “we can feed the world through science” The most impressive advance in agriculture was the advent of fertilizer that allowed for more nitrogen to be available than what was naturally occurring from nature. This advance allowed for more to be fed from smaller areas of land, until this time the farmland/population balance could only advance so far due to soil health. Think back to farming events that led up to the great dust bowl, and the understanding of crop rotation for soil health.
Our cross road today is the battle over genetic modification/engineering food labeling, not over the development, sale or use. I personally believe I have the right to make food purchase based on my beliefs, one of those is the importance of buying local produce and fruits, keeping more of my moneys here at home. The other is my ideological concerns over messing in Gods cookie jar – DNA and RNA manipulation for profit.
Currently we have Oregon HB 2175 & 2532 in the works that would require the labeling of GMO foods sold in Oregon.
While some may feel this is a small issue, I ask you to think further. What happens when squash, tomato, and potatoes from GE sources escape into non GE crops? How do you feel about receiving your vaccines through your potatoes? Won’t happen the experts say – ya right I have a bridge for sale too.
In fact it already has with squash, potatoes and tomatoes, the loss of native, heirloom and the most important part fertile food crops will be devastating on local economies, food stores, populations and health. The potatoes was an easy convert to carrying cholera vaccine, they are working out the kinks in transportation methods now. Tomatoes were GE to carry antibiotics and the FDA halted the sales, but it is being revisited, GE squash fled the field along with rice quickly after its first planting.
Additionally Monsanto is busy in Washington as we speak; a Continuing Resolution (CR) for the big Appropriations funding bill (H.R. 933) is being debated in the Senate. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, has included a dangerous GMO rider that has no place in a funding bill. Fortunately, Senator Tester, Senators Boxer, Gillibrand, and Leahy, have introduced amendment #74 to strike the dangerous rider from the CR. Tell your member of Congress to support the Tester amendment and dump the dangerous biotech rider.
“…Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new toxicants and health concerns…
Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences…
(f) Fifty countries—including the European Union member states, Japan and other key U.S. trading partners—have laws mandating disclosure of genetically engineered foods. No international agreements prohibit the mandatory identification of foods produced through genetic engineering. …
In addition, 26 years of research and 19 years of commercialization reveal that GE has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. The actual accomplishments of GE have been to make farmers buy more pesticides and to drive up the price of patented seeds.
Current FDA policy is that genetically engineered foods do not need to be labeled, arguing genetically engineered foods are “substantially equivalent” to non-GE foods.
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